April 10, 2013

Gilbert's starting to find his 2011 swagger again

Justin Gilbert walked off the field slowly as he gazed over.

On the other end of the field, the Oklahoma Sooners celebrated an overtime Bedlam win and ultimately a share of the Big 12 Championship.

On his end, Gilbert wasn't happy.

He didn't speak to media after the game, but you could see it in his eyes in the availabilities leading up to the team's bowl game.

He wasn't happy.

The fire's still burning from then, he's said, and after a dominant 2011 campaign, he's looking for redemption from a sketchy 2012, a season in which he became a ghost of his former self, a Justin Gilbert far from the Justin Gilbert we had all come to know so well.

He's an NFL prospect, that's no secret. The cornerback's listed just above six feet tall, and is the fastest and best athlete on any field he steps on. He should be dominating, but for some reason he didn't last year.

Maybe the scheme didn't match up with the style of play he thrived in in 2011, a press corner that shut down receivers at the line of scrimmage. That wasn't what we saw in '12, but it's making a return this fall.

"Every time you look at him, he'll pierce right through you," defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said. "He's got a great look. He's playing with a chip on his shoulder and it's awesome to see."

That chip is what got him ahead two seasons ago, and made him and Brodrick Brown two of the premier cornerbacks in the nation last preseason. Maybe he relaxed too much because of it and the chip fell off. Maybe it was the scheme, or a combination of the two.

But opponents beware-It seems as though he's started to find his rhythm again. At least to his coordinator.

"I reflected on the season and that's what I really focused on," the senior said. "I didn't really have the season that I wanted, so I'm back to fix the mistakes that I made last season and play more aggressively and try and focus on those things."

"It's been motivating so far. The other day at practice I didn't take any plays off and I just keep going out with that mentality."

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